This is how Vistalegre becomes a bullring

The multipurpose space of Carabanchel welcomes, from today, ten days of bullfighting. We can assemble and disassemble the ring in one night

Operators work to turn the concert floor into a ringAlberto di Lolli

The Palacio de Vistalegre will be a bullring from this Thursday until next May 23. For ten days the other San Isidro is celebrated in Carabanchel and the multipurpose pavilion has had to move the track of the concerts around the ring to host the first bullfighting fair of the pandemic. The process has been led by Paco Pedrosa, the building’s historic janitor. The assembly and disassembly depends on the rush we have. If we can do it in one night, we do it in one night. If not, in about eight hours. Or in two days. This time six men have worked with me, explains the retired expert. I am 65 years old. I’ve worked here since ’95. They call me because I’m the one who knows the subject the best.

The albero, “from Alcal de Guadaira”, is stored under three layers when not in use. The circumference in which there will be bulls and bullfighters during the alternative San Isidro emerges from the ground. Meanwhile, the albero has been hidden since 2019, the last time it was used. Above it is the main layer that covers a layer of canvas and a lower layer of plastics. The set of the three protect the albero and on them are mounted, when there are no bulls, the spaces for the rest of the activities.

On May 8 there was a concert. The same day at night, everything that we prepared to host the concert was dismantled and on Sunday 9 the barriers were set up, which sleep until the bulls arrive in the warehouses. After, you have to move the albero. We put machines to remove it. We do it with a mechanical mulilla. Can the ground support the weight of the machines? Sure, the floor holds 10,000 or 12,000 kilos per square meter. The pens, up to 5,000. Before using the machinery to clean the ring, you have to water the albero to be able to remove it. And it is watered once more so that no dust is raised, very annoying during the fights.

Appearance of the ring after assembly
Appearance of the ring after assemblyAlberto di Lolli

The ring on which there will be bullfighters and bulls continuously for the next two weeks hides five underground floors. There are fresh water tanks, water for fires, 1,500 parking spaces and the three supermarkets, explains the concierge.

Before, the Palace was La Chata, the popular bullring demolished in 95. Some recent milestones in the history of bullfighting were highlighted. The debut of Curro Vzquez or the irruption of Palomo Linares placeholder image. He worked in the 70s, at the age of 16, when the owner was [Luis Miguel] Sunday. Then I left and was of help from Joselito at least 25 years, remember. Pedrosa saw the work that made that mythical bullring a pavilion. It was brutal. There were 500 or 600 men scattered. An exaggeration. I’ve seen the hole dug and covered. This square is a thousand times better than the other. The facilities are some of the best I have seen. With Joselito I walked many places around the world and I never saw anything like it.

Paco continues to live in the Palace. Even though I left in March, I still keep the house. I came when I stopped being help, in my early 40s or early 40s. Don Arturo Beltrn, the owner, is an extraordinary man, more than a boss, a friend. They treat me very well. Now that there are bulls I am going to be enjoying what I like.

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